It has now been over a year that the world of travel came to a screeching halt. It seemed impossible that the pandemic would arrive to the tragic point that it has. There were no ways to estimate or guess the destruction COVID would have, on a human and also economic level. Fortunately, after a series of unending lockdowns this winter, it seems that we are finally seeing some real, positive changes.
Vaccines have picked up their pace in the USA and are getting on track (finally) in Europe. Hence, we are starting to enter a new phase of cautious optimism about the future of travel. We wanted to share some of these updates from here in Europe as we return to our “new” normal after lockdown.
The future of travel for vaccinated American tourists
Recently, the head of the European Commission stated to the New York Times that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to enter Europe this summer, for the first time in over a year as tourists. Many of the details are undecided, but after over a year of lockdown this is very positive news. The dates and specifics are still vague, but a definitive statement like this means great things for our future!
Even within the EU, tourists have been now able to enter Italy from several countries with proof of a negative COVID test or a vaccination certificate. This means that our future of travel is off to a great start. As the weather gets warmer, we are hopeful that we will very soon be able to help make your Mediterranean travel dreams come true! After lockdown and sheltering at home, no one is more eager to travel. We appreciate so much more the freedom and privilege to explore this incredible world, and cannot wait to get back to sharing our beautiful Mediterranean with our clients.
Post lockdown life in the Mediterranean
As of April 26th, restaurants in most of Italy were finally able to reopen for dinner for the first time since last fall’s lockdown. Italy was divided into a color coded system for months – yellow (low-medium), orange (medium-high) and red (high). This color is based on the number of contagions in each region. After the total lockdown of Christmas, some regions were “yellow”. This meant they were able to reopen restaurants for sit down service only at lunch. However, since the subsequent total lockdown of Easter most of the country fell into “orange” or “red”. This meant that there was only take away service offered. Fortunately, since Monday, this has changed!
We hope that this new reopening will mark the start of something like a normal summer. Almost all of the regions will now drop into the low-risk “yellow” zone. Bars and restaurants are permitted to restart service (however only outside). For the first time in over 6 months of on and off lockdowns, they will also be permitted to start a dinner service.
However, a 10pm curfew remains in place. This is a big step for Italy as with the reopening of restaurants, many hotels are scheduled to reopen throughout May.
In other travel news, United airlines is even adding new flights to its schedule! Direct flights are now available from Newark to Dubrovnik and Washington Dulles to Athens. These two countries (Croatia and Greece) have been the leading voices in Europe to reopen to North Americans. United also has made it easy to upload vaccine results to its mobile app. All of these signs point to a cautiously optimistic return to travel by the end of the summer in a post-lockdown world.
Travel planners and your next trip
COVID has truly shown the value of using a travel specialist. Our clients come to us because of our first hand experience and knowledge of a destination. We know the easiest and best ways to experience the Mediterranean. After last year, travel specialists took on an even greater value. Nightmare stories of people who used third party booking sites were all too common. Using a local expert means that the phone calls and reorganization and rescheduling is our responsibility. Over the past few weeks, many of our clients who postponed are starting to dust off their travel dreams and start planning. We are thrilled to get back to work!
As everything had to change with the times, our terms and conditions have as well, reflecting a new “post” COVID understanding.
It’s never too early to start planning tour next trip. We are ready and eager to help you make your travel dreams become reality!